Big Man On Campus? Not if you Don’t Graduate!!

Earlier in the week I read an article that said that currently, the graduation rate for Black students from HBCU’s (Historically Black Colleges & Universities) was at 37%. It was also noted that this figure was found to be four points lower than the national graduation average for Black students period. Even more disparaging was the finding that there is a stark contrast in graduation rates for Black men relative to Black women at these HBCU’s as well.

A recent study by the Associated Press, found that 29% of Black male students graduate from HBCU’s within a six year time span. With women making up roughly 61% of the student population at these colleges, that rate of graduation for Black men is very discouraging. The article covered various suspected contributing factors to these results, and there was no clear cut reason or explanation.

A few years ago the stat that was tossed around, is that there are more Black men in prison that in college. A claim that has since been debunked I might add. But that said, it would seem that for the “few” Black men in college, the graduation rates would, and should be higher given the alternative of prison. Especially when we’re talking about Black colleges and Universities, right?

One of the factors questioned or discussed had to do with the concept of the “Big Man On Campus” attitude. It was said that because of the disparity in enrollment between men and women, men may develop the big head, and somehow think they’re special, or a potential catch. Well, err, umm, if you’re not graduating, how much of a catch can you be? I said that to say that in the dating world (not exclusive to college) this has developed into somewhat of a problem for women.

Not in the post graduate world however, Black women have the advantage in the professional setting when it comes to employment. I guess this is one reason why I’m kinda glad as a father of three girls; two of which who will be off to college within the next 2yrs. At least for my own satisfaction, I know that the chances of being sidetracked by some clown thinking about short-term booty may be slim. In my mind I’d like to think that them being around other women who are focused cannot do anything but help them along.

I suspect that’s part of the problem with the brothers on campus. I don’t know, but maybe they’re not thinking long term enough. In other words, maybe they get complacent or comfortable with themselves just in knowing that they’re in college, and not in prison. Surely there’s more to it than that as the article discusses, but to me, that’s a major area where I think they fall short. I don’t know, but can you tell me what you think, and how can we fix this? I mean after all, shouldn’t we care about our young Black men?

Interestingly something that the article never touched on, was the absence of minority faculty at these institutions of higher learning. I never attended an HBCU, but for some reason I always thought that quite naturally, they would be loaded with minority faculty. But according to what I read from Dr. Boyce Watkins, professor at Syracuse University (who happens to be Black just in case you didn’t know) this is a problem in itself. Now, with him being a Black man working in academia, I’m kinda apt to believe what he’s saying. Besides that, I’ve been a fan of his for quite some time. Having said that, I must be clear in saying that I am not against sending or having my kids attend an HBCU to further their education.

So you tell me, what do you think is the central problem that contributes to the current graduation rate for Black men from these HBCU’s. You can read the press release on the study right here, and you can go to Dr. Watkins’ post right here. You can go to either site and read for yourself. You can do that, or you can simply take a stab at it and tell me what you think is the current problem. Is it the colleges, the lack of minority faculty, the ill preparedness for college because of our atrocious public school system (keep in mind that HBCU’s often cater to students who come from low income families), or is it just a problem with Black men in general?

What say you?

Given the current findings, would you be against sending your son to an HBCU?